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Watch This: Tesla Model 3 Glass Shatters, Falls Right Onto The Highway, Tesla QC Issues Continue

Tesla’s quality control issues continue, with a Californian resident becoming the latest victim. Julie McCuen became the latest entrant of this series of the rear-right window shattering incidents, and this time, it occurred while driving down the highway. Tesla has encountered several such quality issues in the past year or so.

Ironically enough, it was a recording from the TeslaCam which helped her prove the incident to the service centre officials. While she did get it repaired under warranty, the delays and initial reluctance on the service centre’s part infuriated her.

The Actual Incident

The rear right window shattering is fast becoming a regular problem in Model 3 and Model Y. While most of the previous incidents occurred in a stationary state, this time, the vehicle was running on the highway. Julie said that the window first shattered completely, but the window tint film kept it together. As she manoeuvred through lanes to get to a safe spot, her car hit a bump. This caused the entire window to fall onto the road and shatter into pieces. An SUV driving behind Julie’s vehicle had to slow down and managed to narrowly miss driving over the shattered glass.

Julie says:

“I was driving south on the 55 Freeway on February 2 in the city of Orange, Southern California. The incident happened just before the Chapman Avenue exit. I was in the carpool lane and there was no one around me at the time in any of the five lanes on that stretch of the freeway.”

Julie said she received a sound alert when the glass shattered, and there was also a sound of the glass cracking. The above video probably begins when she received the alert, after which she tries to change lanes. Had it not been for the window tint film, the entire window could have crumbled and entered the cabin. All this, when she was driving at roughly 70 mph (113 kph).

The Service Centre Experience Worsens The Incident

Following the shattering of the glass, she drove carefully to the Santa Ana service centre. The first reaction of the officials was very negative, and they were quick to assume that something must have hit the window. She then showed the TeslaCam video to prove that the glass fell out on its own after the vehicle went through a bump. The officials then blamed the tint film for the incident. It was after being vocal for quite some time that they agreed to repair it under warranty.

However, they still refused to provide quick service. They agreed to replace the window and regulator on the same day only after Julie pressed them to. She mentions that she wasn’t going to take an Uber to go home in the times of the pandemic, especially when her region is still registering quite a few cases. She lives 40 miles (64 km) away from the service centre. The officials told her that the replacement would take 2 hours, but having reached the service centre at 8:50 am, she only got out of there at 1:30 pm. It was quite a harrowing experience for her.

Julie mentions that this isn’t the first time she has faced problems at this particular service centre. This was, in fact, the third time she went there, and it hasn’t been easy any of those times. She had originally gone there to take care of a humming sound near the front door. Amazingly enough, this issue hasn’t been sorted yet. She said she replaced the rubber window trim near the A-pillar but to no avail. She just drives around with the music at a high volume to drown the humming sound out.

Previous Incidents of Rear Right Window Shattering in Tesla Vehicles

In October last year, the rear right window of a Model Y shattered spontaneously. This happened when it was parked in a garage. Again in January this year, a similar thing happened in a Model 3, again when inside a garage. It was the 2021 version of Tesla’s most selling vehicle.

There are many theories regarding this quality control issue. If a glass defect is causing these incidents, then why is it seen only on the rear doors? One theory suggests that assembly mistakes with the subframes are causing these incidents. Due to this, only the assembly of the rear door might be affected. This seems quite plausible.

And this isn’t the only issue bothering Tesla customers. In October last year, the roof of a Model Y flew off and landed on the road behind. This happened when the owner was taking his car home from the dealership after just taking delivery. Episodes like these are definitely concerning for the customers, and people will think twice before buying a Tesla car in the future if it continues.

Elon Musk mentioned during a recent interview that they have improved their quality control procedure considerably since the end of 2020. There has been a change in process, and checking is more comprehensive. He also mentioned that when they were in the process of the up-ramp of production of any vehicle in the past, it affected quality. He has assured the public, however, that there are one-off incidents.

In any case, Tesla seriously needs to up its game in quality control. Tesla is definitely working towards the betterment of humanity from a sustainability point-of-view. But customers won’t buy a Tesla vehicle if they don’t feel safe.

Mihir Tasgaonkar
Mihir Tasgaonkar
A mechanical engineer who loves reading and writing about new technologies in the automobile industry.


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